Zika Virus- Emerging Infectious Diseases

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a flavivirus that is primarily transmitted by Aedes aegypti, the mosquito vector also important in transmission of the flaviviruses responsible for dengue fever, yellow fever, and chikungunya. Because of occurrence in the same geographic regions, serologic cross-reactivity, and similar but often less severe clinical manifestations, such as dengue and chikungunya infections, ZIKV infection likely has gone undetected, misdiagnosed, or both for many years. ZIKV is somewhat unique among flaviviruses in its ability to be transmitted through sexual contact, nonsexual body fluids, and perinatally. The relatively recent detection of the link between ZIKV infection and Guillain-Barre syndrome and fatal neurological defects, including microcephaly, has prompted intense efforts aimed at the development of new and specific diagnostic tests. Infection with ZIKV has been postulated to lead to a more severe clinical course from other structurally related viruses, especially dengue, and vice versa because of a phenomenon termed antibody-dependent enhancement. Inactivated whole virus, DNA, RNA, and vectored vaccine approaches to prevent ZIKV infection are in development, as are treatments for active disease that are safe in pregnant womens.

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